The Shoemaker’s Wife

I have read almost every novel Adriana Trigiani has written. So I couldn’t wait for The Shoemaker’s Wife to be published. This book, based on the lives of Trigiani’s grandparents, is a rich history of an Italian immigrant family who love and respect the “old country” and the dignity of their lives in the Italian Alps. At the end, as always, I wanted to ask Trigiani, “Then what happened, and then what?” The scope of the story can only be called “operatic”.

Living in the tiny village of Vilminore high in the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century, 10-year-old Ciro Lazari and his 11-year-old brother Eduardo are dropped off at a convent by their recently widowed and very ill mother who can no longer care for them. Expecting her to return in a few months, the boys settle in to life at the convent.

At age 16, Ciro meets Enza, a beautiful but no-nonsense young girl from Shilpario, even higher up the mountain, and both feel an immediate connection. Unfortunately, Ciro witnesses the convent priest in a compromising position with a young girl, and scandal rocks the little village.  Through a series of events, both Ciro and Enza separately make their way to America.

Each not knowing the other is in New York City, they begin to build their lives — until until they have a chance meeting. But it’s too late, as Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I in order to earn his American citizenship. The two continue to “run into each other” but the timing is never right. Of course, you know they end up together, but you’ll need to read this great family saga to learn how, when, where: and how The Great War affects their lives.

Trigiani’s characters always seem to be people you want to get to know, and this time is no different. I wanted the story to continue. Maybe she will write a sequel to tell us of the lives of the next generation. Here’s hoping….

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